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By Fig Contributor Erik Carrasquillo
On Tuesday night, I took part in something I never envisioned myself doing. I told a story at Tellus360 as part of Lancaster Story Slam’s July theme: That One Time. Yes, I did it. I marched to the stage—in front of a sizable crowd of people—and delivered an unrehearsed tale about a former co-worker.
It was spoken word in its rawest manifestation, bloated with uhs and ums and imperfect timing. I even managed to utter a not-word: “confusement.” Me, a proud English major channeling my inner Sean Spicer. Can you believe it? But in my defense, my brain is usually alphabet soup. I’m verbose to the point of nausea, but I excel more at written prose. When speaking, my vocabulary becomes so limited that all available words begin to cannibalize each other. That’s how a flub like “confusement”, a byproduct of the mental tug of war between confusion and bewilderment, entered the fray that night.
I have my reasons for winging it. I feared that if I planned any bit of it out, I’d plague myself with perfectionism. I could envision talking myself out of it. It’d no longer be a curiously creative exercise aimed at self-enrichment. Instead, it’d become work. And that’s why I willingly put forth a product full of missteps.
Despite the aforementioned fumbling, the reception from the volunteer judges was better than anticipated. I scored pretty high, though a low score wouldn’t have deterred me from trying it again. The experience was invaluable.
At the end of the night, as my wife and I were leaving Tellus360, a group of older people walked by. One of them tapped me on the shoulder and said: “Wonderful story. I hope to see more of you in the future.” That was a truly flattering moment.
I’d like to thank my wife Jen for accompanying me to this event. Her presence and support helped quell so much of the anxiety I felt leading up to this occasion. I’d also like to thank Jim Breslin and Carla Wilson for bringing this amazing event to Lancaster.
And here it is, my That One Time story: